Chapter 3: To Make a Living — You have a tattoo? You wouldn’t happen to be part of a shady society, right?
Mi Qing closed the door and saved Xiao Gu’s number to her phone.
She spent quite a while unpacking her luggage. After she finished, the sky outside had already darkened completely. Mi Qing looked and saw that it was time for the news broadcast. She rubbed her stomach and felt a little hungry, but she didn’t know what she should eat.
Thinking this over for a moment, she took out one of the chocolate boxes she bought in the afternoon and unwrapped the delicate case, plucking one out of the tray.
The distinctive aroma of cocoa lingered around her nose. Mi Qing lightly bit into it. The exquisite chocolate and strong, savory strawberry filling melted between her lips and teeth, causing a trace of sweetness and unctuousness to emerge within her heart.
“Wu~ extremely delicious.” Mi Qing happily sighed, swallowing the chocolate in her mouth completely. She once again extended a hand out to pluck another chocolate from the case.
As her delicate fingernail touched the chocolate, she hesitated for a moment. This case of chocolate only had eight pieces altogether; eating one meant having one less in the future.
Mi Qing withdrew her hand and licked her fingertips. She replaced the cover of the case.
She would save these to eat later; who knew how long these days of hunger would last?
At last solving her dinner problem, Mi Qing hugged her rabbit ear pajamas, wanting to take a bath. She first leaned her ear against the door to listen. Upon determining that there was no voices outside, she quickly opened the door and walked out.
Just as she closed the door, she caught sight of Xiao Gu’s pet husky standing at the end of the hallway, staring motionlessly at her.
“Ge⏤!” On the verge of letting out a shriek, she forcibly swallowed her voice, turning her shriek into a hiccup. At this moment, Xiao Gu wasn’t present. If her shriek startled the dog, then she would have gone to the dogs.
She pretended that nothing had happened and, without glancing sideways, she quickly stepped towards the bathroom, opened the door, and entered.
The moment she locked the door, Mi Qing leaned back against it, her two legs softening and sliding to the ground.
Calming down her heartbeat, she inspected the bathroom she was in.
There wasn’t a bathtub, which meant she couldn’t immerse herself in a warm bath from now on.
Her lips thinned into a flat line. She arranged her body wash and shampoo on the shower rack before turning on the shower.
Once she finished her shower, Mi Qing was especially mindful. That husky was actually still sitting in its original position.
Once, again, she stuffed down a hiccup before quickly withdrawing her face. Like before, she didn’t glance sideways as she walked back to her room.
Confirming twice that the door was locked, she collapsed onto the bed, lingering fears still plaguing her heart.
This bed looked nothing out of the ordinary, but it was still comfortable to lie down on.
She lay down for a moment before she went up to go to her dressing table, where she had already arranged her things, and picked up a small jar of Renewal Water Mask cream. After applying it to her face, she casually picked up a massage roller stick at the side and began massaging her calves.
The massage tool absorbed tiny electric currents that adhered to the muscle like magnets. Mi Qing sighed comfortably, thinking that she was finally feeling alive.
Just like that, she enjoyed this kind of pleasure for 15 minutes. She had nearly fell asleep from the comfortable feeling. She recalled that she still had things to do.
She needed to sell her clothes1, otherwise she wouldn’t have any food to eat.
She had already thought about it, selling her clothes2first would give her plenty of money to live off of as she slowly searched for a job. She was very unfamiliar with A City, so she naturally didn’t know where the second-hand exchange stores were. Fortunately for her, however, social networks were very convenient nowadays, which meant that there were several second-hand trading platforms online.
She wiped off her facial mask and sat down at the desk. When she began booting up her laptop, she realized she didn’t have internet.
The network connection displayed many available wireless connections, but they all required a password. Mi Qing assumed that the network signal with the highest strength should belong to her landlord.
She thought for a moment. In the end, she still decided to go and ask for the password from him.
Xiao Gu’s ensuite was to the right, at the very end of the hallway. Because she didn’t have to pass the living room, Mi Qing wasn’t particularly worried. She first opened her door quietly and glanced around. The husky that had been sitting at the end of the hallway just a moment ago was nowhere to be seen. She reckoned that it had returned to its doghouse.
She breathed a sigh of relief, and then she softly and quietly walked down the hall. She knocked on Xiao Gu’s door.
Dong-dong. Just after she knocked twice, Xiao Gu opened the door.
Xiao Gu stood in the doorway, his upper body naked. He was rubbing a towel over his semi-dry hair. He must’ve just finished showering. A strong fragrance of body wash still pervaded his room, but she didn’t know if it was left over from the shower or from Xiao Gu’s body.
Mi Qing suffered a violent blow; She nearly screamed and called him a pervert.
Xiao Gu used one hand to towel his hair and looked at her somewhat impatiently. “What is it?”
Even though the house had central heating, it was still chilly if no clothes were worn this rainy day.
Mi Qing secretly swallowed her saliva down and shifted her gaze away. “What is your WiFi password? I need to connect to the internet to sell my clothes.”
Xiao Gu looked at her silently for a moment before saying, “The password is my private phone number. You can use the internet, but the network expenses are going to be shared equally. Oh, that’s right, the utility expenses will also be shared.”
Mi Qing finally raised her eyes to look at him. “But you also have a dog.”
Xiao Gu stared blankly at her. He hadn’t expected that there would be someone who would fuss over minor matters with a dog. “My dog only bathes one a month. What about you?”
Mi Qing: “…”
Alright then. For the sake of renting this apartment cheaply, she would swallow3 this loss.
She wrinkled her nose and prepared to return to her room. Xiao Gu examined her soft pink rabbit ear pajamas and slippers. Her shoulder bag earlier also seemed to have a couple three-dimensional rabbit ear decorations.
“You love rabbits?” He asked without thinking.
Mi Qing turned her head to look back at him. “Can’t I?”
Xiao Gu didn’t reply. He turned his body as if he intended to grab something. The moment he turned around, Mi Qing caught sight of something on his lower back——a tattoo.
Because of the angle and that his jeans covering most of it, she wasn’t able to completely see it, but she sensed that it was a sinister monster.
Inside, Mi Qing was frightened, and she subconsciously asked, “You have a tattoo? You wouldn’t happen to be part of a shady society, right?”
No wonder his house rent was so cheap; it was because he wanted to attract and fool people like her before selling them to the black market as manual labor!
Xiao Gu glanced back at her. “Having a tattoo means I belong to a shady society? The threshold to enter shady societies must be extremely low.”
Mi Qing: “…”
Xiao Gu picked up two keys from the table and threw them at Mi Qing. “I forgot to give these to you earlier. House keys.”
She took the keys and looked at him once more before returning to her room.
She tried the number Xiao Gu gave her, and, as expected, she smoothly connected to the internet. She found a second-hand exchange site with a comparatively high reputation. After researching for a bit, she entered her phone number to register.
If she wanted to sell the items quickly, she would need some pretty pictures. Mi Qing thought for a moment before she wore the clothes herself and took pictures of her wearing them.
She intended to sell an overcoat and a dress. If these4 were sold off smoothly, then it should be enough to last her for a while.
Finished taking photos of herself, she selected the clothing articles for sale before uploading it to her computer.
Compiling all of the information, Mi Qing, harboring a pious heart, pressed enter.
She truly didn’t expect that she would have one day need to sell her clothes for money.
Finishing with this matter, Mi Qing’s heart was like a large rock falling to the ground when she lightly pressed open Weibo.
Mr. Tuzi hadn’t updated his Weibo, disappointing Mi Qing slightly. She clicked open her PM notifications and read it.
「 Alice: Uncle is still very angry right now; don’t return. 」
This 「 Alice 」 was Mi Qing’s best friend that had helped her run away. Because Mi Qing hadn’t told anyone her new phone number, she had arranged with Alice from the very beginning to pass her news via PM.
From the contents of this message, the day she could return home was very far away.
She switched off her laptop and collapsed on the bed, intending to sleep early.
Sometime in the middle of the night, she woke up hungry.
She looked around only to see complete darkness that nothing moved within. The unfamiliar environment made her sense of insecurity rise up even higher.
But she was really hungry, especially since she had only eaten a piece of chocolate for dinner. Although that had replenished a bit of her energy, it had, in no way, satisfied her.
Mi Qing struggled for quite a while before her intense hunger prevailed over her fear.
She decided to go to the kitchen and see if there was anything to eat.
If she wanted to go to the kitchen, she had to pass through the living room, and the living room was the husky’s territory.
Mi Qing used the light from her phone’s screen to guide her. She tiptoed forward, each step lighter than even a kitty.
In the living room, the husky was sleeping in its doghouse. Mi Qing didn’t dare to fix her gaze on it, afraid that her stare would wake it up. At this moment, she felt like she was a warrior exploring a demon’s cave.
Finally reaching the kitchen with great difficulty, Mi Qing opened the refrigerator and looked inside. Inside there was very many ingredients, but they all required some preparation to eat. She scanned through it once more, but had no choice but to take out a cucumber to nibble on.5
Mn, what would happen if the landlord found out that she had eaten a cucumber? If he found out…6 She still had ¥308.50 on her.
She held the cucumber and bit into it7, intending to return to her room to enjoy her snack. Just as she started to turn around, she caught sight of the husky standing at the doorway.
The cucumber piece she had bitten off fell out of her mouth and to the ground.8 She had absolutely no time to feel regret. She immediately covered her mouth, afraid that she would shriek aloud.
That husky silently stood there in the night, resembling a defender of justice.
Mi Qing didn’t dare to move. She was completely defenseless against this large dog, whom she met face to face on a narrow path in this kitchen.9
It had discovered her eating its master’s things. Would it bite her to death on the spot…
Her mind crafted this scene for her, and Mi Qing was even more unwilling to act blindly without thinking. One human and one dog stayed in this kind of deadlock for a moment before the dog wagged its tail all of a sudden and moved forward one step.
On reflex, Mi Qing retreated back two steps.
The husky walked to a cupboard and stopped beside it. It looked at Mi Qing before slapping its tail against the cupboard.
Mi Qing was still frozen in place until she saw the large dog repeat this action four times. She finally stretched her arm forward and pulled open that cupboard.
Inside were rows of neatly arranged paper bags.10 Because the cell phone’s light was very dim, she wasn’t able to clearly see what was inside.
The dog waved its tail at those paper bags, extending its tongue as it looked at Mi Qing.
… It wants me to take it?
Mi Qing swallowed her saliva. Only an outstanding talent could recognize current trends.11 It was still safer for her if she did as the husky instructed.
She took a paper bag and quickly withdrew her hand. Using her phone’s light, she shined it down onto the contents of the paper bag. Mi Qing discovered that inside the bag was actually dried mango.
The husky continued to wag its tail at her.
Mi Qing: “…”
Was it because she was currently starving that she would think its actions were permitting her to eat it?
She looked at the packaged pouch in her hand and didn’t see a manufacturing date or a sell-by date. It was like the type of third-rate products she didn’t dare eat. But the dog was eagerly watching her, so she opened the sealed pouch and took out a dried mango slice.
Just as she opened the pouch, a strong, fragrant, and sweet mango aroma assailed her senses. She cautiously and solemnly bit into the dried mango slice in her hand. Her eyes immediately brightened.
From three-star Michelin restaurants to small street stalls, although Mi Qing had tasted culinary delicacies from all parts of the world, she had never eaten a dried mango as delicious as this! This was even tastier than the ones her family imported abroad!
The fruit was very rich in flavor, and biting into the slice demonstrated a thick toughness. Not only that, the fruit’s fragrance was very strong; none of the mango’s taste was lost when it was dried. The moist and soft slice was just the perfect size; she simply couldn’t stop after a bite!
In a breath’s time, Mi Qing had eaten three slices before she suddenly stopped.
Wait a minute. This situation seems somewhat strange.
She once again looked at the large dog in front of her. It was obediently sitting on the ground, tongue stretched out as it looked at her.
Mi Qing licked the corners of her mouth, swallowing the dried mango slice in her mouth. She took out two slices again before returning the bag back to its original spot. Closing the cupboard, she picked up the fallen cucumber on the ground and rushed out of the kitchen with lightning speed, returning to her room.
She hoped that the landlord wouldn’t discover a cucumber and five slices of dried mango were missing tomorrow.
- Moonclipse’s comment: sell her bod— clothes 😉 ↩
- Moonclipse’s comment: cough bad editor, bad. Don’t go there! ↩
- Moonclipse’s comment: ahem, secretly adds an em dash here. ↩
- Moonclipse’s comment: sneakily changes these to she ↩
- Moonclipse’s comment: Mnn.. cucumbers are… tasty… 😉 and as you can see, our MC likes to savour her cucumbers… ↩
- Moonclipse’s comment: obviously, he would give her a better cucumber to eat… ↩
- Moonclipse’s comment: Hey hey, MC, you shouldn’t bite, don’t you know that only nibbling and licking is okay? ↩
- Moonclipse’s comment: Don’t waste the precious cucumber! ↩
- “To meet face to face on a narrow path” is an idiom meaning “enemies or rivals meet face to face” ↩
- Moonclipse’s comment: are they for Mi Qing to put over her head? xD ↩
- Idiom meaning “a wise person submits to circumstances” ↩